NASA Sci Files segment involving students in an activity that studies how to locate an earthquake's epicenter by using triangulation.
March 10, 2010
Triangulation Activity is Fun, Hands-On Science!
My students loved this activity. Actually, another teacher introduced it to me: she's been doing it for years with her students. What I like about it is that it provides an experience of plotting the location of an earthquake and practice with triangulation. The students were very engaged and took pride in making careful calculations.
I guess my only reservation is that the earthquake is finally located in a place that isn't known for earthquakes. My students live in Los Angeles, in a fault zone, so the eventual epicenter is not plausible (and the name of the city isn't given either). But these are just minor flaws. The actual practice of triangulating an epicenter was really fun!
I suggest letting students view the 3rd grade class video before doing the activity. Because my students are 6th grade language learners, they benefited from having a visual introduction to the activity to help them anticipate what they were going to do.
We spent two Science lessons (50 minutes each) for this activity.